Custom Modules and Views to Enhance Sales Engineering
One of W-Systems’s major goals is to provide honest, accurate and concise information to potential clients when meeting an agreement about a certain project. To further this aim, W-Systems uses a process called sales engineering to divide the problem amongst our sales team and engineers. This approach allows the people with the best idea of the project to provide their opinion on how long and how complicated a given project will be.
It is with this goal in mind that W-Systems decided to adjust the way in which we approached sales engineering. The changes will attempt to better categorize internally how we approach problems that have occurred in past projects. This includes involving more engineers to ensure promptness and redefining the roles of what each engineer is doing to streamline the entire process.
As a part of revamping our sales engineering process, I created an entirely new module, Sales Engineering Line Items. This module helps to clarify the Sales Engineering process by breaking down projects into different categories. An instance of the module represents any of the products or services that W-Systems sells to our customers. The Line Items are divided into three basic categories: Products, Named Objectives and Time & Materials. This division helps us easily take action for all the different services we provide.
The Line Items module is unique because any given Sales Engineering object can be related to as many Line Items as needed. Instead of using the editor detail views for the Line Items module in its traditional manner, we have created a custom view for the Sales Engineering detail view where all edits are made. The Sales Engineering detail view now has the full capability of creating/editing/deleting all its related Line Items.
One of the major problems I faced when creating the custom view was that I kept generating the same or very similar HTML. So I turned to Handlebars.js, a popular HTML templating engine, for assistance. Handlebars allowed me to dynamically create the content that I wanted while only requiring me to write a few short templates that would be used for each new line item. Handlebars were very easy to integrate into the system and worked flawlessly.
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